Nursing home abuse can be a serious issue. If you suspect that a loved one of yours is being abused in a Florida nursing home, you should take action immediately. Florida has strict laws when it comes to nursing home abuse. Individuals living in private care facilities, nursing homes and extended care facilities should be protected from maltreatment. If you believe that your loved one is suffering abuse at nursing home, you should speak with an attorney who is experienced in all facets of elder abuse.
Nursing home abuse is something that cannot be left unattended. You should be vocal about your concerns to an administrator. If you find out that the person is indeed being being abused, you should contact law enforcement and the state public health administrator.
Florida Public Health Statute on Nursing Home Abuse
Under law, the statute does the following:
- It governs nursing care facilities within the state of Florida
- The law oversees the implementation of standards in regards to nursing home treatment .
- It also governs maintenance and nursing home operations, which ensures proper care.
Individuals residing in nursing facilities are protected by the Florida Bill of Rights. The bill guarantees the following rights of residents:
- Freedom of religion
- Private communications
- Access to healthcare, legal services and social services
- The ability to report grievances without retaliation
- Be treated in a courteous and dignified manner
- Be free of physical punishments, seclusion and retraints
- The right to choose own physician, as well as the right to be informed regarding treatments
- Receive adequate healthcare and support services
If there is suspicion that the patient’s rights have been violated, it should be reported as soon as possible. You should also hire an elder abuse attorney immediately. Taking the appropriate action to help your loved one will also help others in the facility who may also be suffering abuse.
If you have taken the necessary steps including speaking to a patient advocate or the nursing home administrator and are still unsatisfied, you should contact the following state agencies:
- Florida Department of Children and Families – This agency also governs Adult Protective Services, an agency that protects elderly individuals from neglect and abuse. If you need to report abuse, you should call the main number and file a report.
- Florida Agency for Health Care Administration – This agency takes complaints regarding elder abuse. There is a hotline you can call to report neglect and abuse.
- Florida’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program – Under the umbrella of the Department of Elder Affairs, this organization has hundreds of volunteers working for the betterment of nursing homes and adult facilities
- Law Enforcement – If you feel that a person is being abused, calling the police will bring forth an immediate investigation.
Regardless of the situation, if you feel that an elderly person is suffering abuse, you should call the appropriate authorities as soon as possible. Each year, dozens of nursing home patients receive injuries and even die at the hands of abusive wards.
Sadly, people within facilities who witness abuses sometimes turn a blind eye. This is something that should never be done. When people admit their loved ones to nursing facilities, they expect them to receive the best care. Look for the following injuries and neglect:
- Bruises, cuts and broken bones
- Soiled beds
- Patient looking unkempt
- Patient’s room looking unclean
- Overall unsanitary conditions
There are many penalties levied against individuals who have been found guilty of abusing elderly nursing home residents. The penalties could range from probation depending on the number of offenses, all the way up to prison time.
While their are real and credible reports of elder abuse, there are occasions where individuals have been falsely accused. Individuals who honestly feel that their loved one is being abuses should file a complaint. Additionally, it would be a good idea to get pictures and statements from your loved one on camera. This can only bolster your case.
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